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An account of a MONUMENT erected to the memory of Dr SWIFT in Ireland.
Taken from the DUBLIN JOURNAL.
Have at last finished what you have often heard me with I might be able to do, a monument for the greatest genius of our age, the late Dean of St Patrick's. The thing in itfelf is but a trifle; but it is more than I should ever have attempted, had I not with indignation feen a country (fo honoured by the birth of fo great a man, and fo faithfully ferved by him all his life) fo long and fo fhamefully negligent in erecting fome mo nument of gratitude to his memory. Countries are not wife in fuch a neglect; for they hurt themselves. Men of genius are encouraged to apply their talents to the fervice of their country, when they fee in it gratitude to the memory of thofe that have deferved well of them. The ingenious Pere Caftell told me at Paris, that he reckoned it the greatest misfortune to him, that he was not born an Englishman; and when he explained himfelf, it was only for this, that, after two hundred years, they had erected a monument to Shakespear; and another to a modern, but to the greatest of them, Sir Ifaac Newton. Great fouls are very difinterested in the affairs of life; they look for fame and immortality, fcorning the mean paths of intereft and lucre: and, Kurely, in an age fo mercenary as ours, men fhould not be fo fparing to give public marks of their gratitude to men of fuch virtue, dead, however they may treat them living; fince, in fo doing, they befpeak, and almoft infure to themfelves a fucceffion of fuch ufeful perfons in fociety. It was with this view that I determined to throw in my mite.
In a fine lawn below my houfe, I have planted an hippodrome. It is a circular plantation, confifting of five walks; the central of which is a horfe course, and three rounds make exactly a mile. All the lines are fo laid out, that, from the centre, the fix rows of trees appear but one, and form 100 arches round the field; in the centre of which I have erected a mount, and placed
placed a marble column on its proper pedestal, with all the decorations of the order; on the fummit of which I placed a Pegafus, just seeming to take flight to heaven; and on the dye of the pedestal I have engraved the following infcription, wrote by an ingenious friend.
In memoriam JONATHAN SWIFT, S. T. P. viri fine pari.
Arte nova; athereas propriis ut Pegafus alis
Ludorum ritu juvat; hic, tibi parvus bonorum
1 75 0.
I have alfo appointed a fmall fund for annual premiums to be diftributed in the celebration of games at the monument yearly. The ceremony is to last three days, beginning the ift of May yearly. On this day, young maids and men in the neighbourhood are to affemble in the hippodrome, with their garlands and chaplets of flowers, and to dance round the monument, finging the praises of this ingenious patriot, and ftrowing with flowers all the place after which they are to dance for a prize; the beft dancer among the maids is to be prefented with a cap and ribands; and after the dance, the young men are to run for a hat and gloves.
The fecond day, there is to be a large market upon the ground: and the girl who produces the finest hank of yarn, and the most regular reel and count, is to have a guinea premium; and the person who buys the greatest quantity of yarn, is to have a premium of two guineas.
The third day, the farmer who produces the best yearling calf of his own breed, is to have two guineas premium; and he that produces the fairest colt or filly, of his own breed likewife, not over two years old, fhall receive a premium of two guineas also.- -Thuз the whole will not exceed ten pounds; and all these useful branches of our growth and manufacture will be encouraged, in remembering the patron who with fo much care and tenderness recommended them to others, and cherished them himself.
I am, &c.
Anecdotes of Dr SWIFT and STELLA.
Taken from the Gentleman's Magazine, Nov.
S the lives of eminent perfons are the most in
of are more read,
perhaps, than any other compofitions; fo there are very few pieces that are more juftly cenfured for partiality; for they are generally the works of perfons interested in the praife or cenfure of the heroes of their hiftory. Wifely therefore have the fovereign pontiffs decreed, that no perfon fhall receive the honour of being fainted, before the expiration of a complete century after their decease; in order to take off, by length of time, all fenfe of favour, or refentment, in fuch parties, as might have connections with the friends or enemies of the future faint, which might otherwise have influenced their evidence in the examination which always precedes the making of a new faint.
These reflections naturally occur upon reading any of our modern lives; and they occurred to me, on my reading, a few days fince, the life of Dean Swift, in one of the London Magazines for 1755 extracted from Lord Orrery, the critic upon his Lordship, and the memoirs published by Deane Swift, Efq; in which, though very concife, the writer has inferted most of the errors of the preceeding works: and as the Dean's charity, his tenderness, and even his humanity, have been impeached, in confequence of his hitherto unaccountable behaviour to his Stella, and of his long refentment fhewn to his fifter; and as no perfon has yet thought proper to redeem that extraordinary genius from these imputations of cruelty and pride, by fhewing his con
The account of Dr Swift's life, prefixed to the ft volume of this work, was extracted from the feveral books here mentioned; and is the most complete account of the Dean that has hitherto appeared: fo that the following anecdotes apply equally to it, as to that imperfect one in the London Magazine.
nections with Stella in their true light; although I think that there are fome living, who have it in their power, from authentic materials, I flatter myself that I shall not be cenfured for endeavouring to do this justice to his memory myself.
It is faid, that Swift made an acquaintance with Mrs Johnson (the lady celebrated by the name of Stella) at Sir William Temple's; that she was the daughter of Sir William's fteward; and that Sir William, in his laft will, left her 1000 l. as an acknowledgment of her father's faithful fervices; that fhe was married to the Dean in 1716; and his never owning her for his wife is imputed, by Lord Orrery, to his pride, which made him difdain an alliance with one defcend. ed from fo mean a family; though others impute it to the common rumour, of her being Sir William's natural daughter, as Swift was faid to be his fon. She died (fays Lord Orrery) abfolutely deftroyed by the peculiarity of her fate. His Lordship likewife declares Swift's pride to have been fuch, as to have induced him to refufe all reconciliation with his fifter, for ha ving married a tradesman, though in good circumstances, and with the approbation of her uncle and relations.
But I am certain Lord Orrery will be pleafed to be convinced, that these accufations are falfe. Dr Swift would have laid down his life, could it have preserved his Stella; that Stella, who was no otherwife related to Sir William Temple's steward, than by her mother's marriage with him many years after the death of Sir William. And as for his cruelty to his fister, it is well known, that he maintained Mrs Fenton many years, when a widow and that she used to fhew his picture to her vifitants, with expreffions of the higheft gratitude and affection. That I may, however, leave no room for doubt, permit me to oppofe to thefe imputations the true history of Mifs Johnson, better known to the world by the name of Stella.
When Sir William Temple left Sheen to refide at Moore Park in Surry, he brought down with him, one fummer, a gentlewoman, in the character of a housekeeper, whose name was Johnson. She was a person of
a furprising genius: few women ever exceeded her in the extent of her reading; none in the charms of converfation. She had feen the world; her address and behaviour were truly polite; and whoever had the pleasure of converfing with her for a quarter of an hour, were convinced that she had known a more genteel walk in life than her prefent fituation confined her to. She was not fo happy in her perfon as her mind; for she was low of ftature, and rather fat and thick, than well shaped: yet the imperfection of her fhape was fully compenfated by a fet of fine features, and an excellent complexion, animated by eyes that perfectly defcribed the brightness of her genius. She was, in few words, the fame among women, that Sir William Temple was among men. Is it furprifing, then, that fuch fimilar perfections fhould attract each other's notice?
This gentlewoman was the widow (as fhe always averred) of one Johnson, a merchant, who having been unfortunate in trade, afterwards became master of a trading floop, which ran between England and Hol land, and there died. He left her, as fhe faid, three children.- -The eldeft, a daughter, was brought up in London, and there married one Filby, a baker, by whom she had eighteen or nineteen children; and living in a genteel manner, he was foon ruined, and was fent by their friends into the weft of England, as a faltofficer; whither the accompanied him, with fuch of her children as lived.-The fecond of her children was a fon, Edward Johnfon; who was put to school at Farnham; and, when of a proper age, was fent abroad, in order to qualify him for trade; but he died there young. The third and laft was her daughter Efther who only, of all her children, was permitted to refide with her at Moore Park; where fhe was educated: and her appearance and dress fo far exceeded the rank and fortune of her mother, and the rest of the children, that the world foon declared Mifs Johnfon to be Sir William's daughter. But had dress fhewn no distinc tion between her and the rest of her mother's children, nature had already diftinguifhed her fufficiently. Her mother and brother were both fair; her fifter